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Possible zoning modifications would change Manteca’s face

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Possible zoning modifications would change Manteca’s face

The land around downtown may be rezoned to allow increasing residential density which in turn would increase the consumer base. Also the city may enlarge the area defined as downtown where specific...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 28, 2010 3:12 a.m.
Zoning – arguably the biggest impact on private property that government has – could have sweeping changes in the coming months in Manteca.

The changes being pondered include:

•Exploring rezoning land adjacent to downtown to encourage higher density for residential uses to encourage private sector investment.

•Addressing the proliferation of “human” signs. Some people have complained they are becoming a distraction and sometimes interfere with the flow of traffic while trying to get the attention of motorists.

•Reviewing parking requirements for shopping centers. Many developments in town – such as the Target lot – never use all of the required spaces. Excess parking adds cost to commercial plus increases storm run-off.

•Developing residential design standards to make it clear what the city wants to see developers achieve and to eliminate builders having to start from scratch trying to figure out what the city wants each time they submit plans for a new subdivision. Manteca developed residential standards nine years ago but staff resisted efforts to implement them as they believed discretion was best invested with the bureaucrats and not be set by municipal policy. The sound wall standards, though, were established.

•Increasing height restrictions on buildings on the downtown area.

•Allowing people to live where they work in community business district zoning much like the original downtown buildings had retail downstairs and housing for the owners on the second floor.

•Creating a boundary for downtown that goes beyond the traditional definition of just six blocks and then devising an overlay district with special restrictions and regulations that are designed to encourage business and spur development.

•Reviewing fees for temporary use permits and mobile vendors and make sure they are enforced.

•Giving the Community Development Director discretion as to the number of required parking spaces in situations where a change of uses is occurring. It isn’t uncommon for parking requirements to prevent a business from opening in existing space or to kill a major investment in a building’s renovation.

•Reassessing parking needs and corresponding standards for different housing types and – if necessary – amend parking standards to make sure they don’t unreasonably undermine the ability of residential developer to achieve maximum allowable density for a site and tying it with a performance standard. Five years ago, a subdivision that would have provided affordable housing was sent back to the drawing boards because of rigid parking standards that the developer unsuccessfully argued allowed adequate parking space.

•Defining single room occupancy as a residential use allowed by right in zoning that accommodates apartment complexes as well as all commercial zones.

•Allowing accessory residential uses in commercial and industrial zones.

•Updating and revising landscaping standards to reflect best management practices and state law which mean they will focus on those that are more drought resistant and use less water as well as being easier to maintain which in turn also reduces costs.

•Reviewing parking requirements for single family homes.

•Updating fencing standards to support residential screening and commercial security objectives.

•Updating the sign ordinance to make it more business friendly.

•Restricting adult businesses in the downtown area.

•Reviewing setback requirements.

•Making sure parking requirements for dense developments are adequate.

Those and other items related to the zone code update work that is now underway were provided by Community Development Director Mark Nelson during Monday’s City Council workshop.
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